Michael Vick gets hurt ... again

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Michael Vick gets hurt ... again

From Comcast SportsNet
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) -- Michael Vick walked slowly off the field, shaken up for the second straight game. And he was eager to get back in the action. Philadelphia's star quarterback was leveled on just his sixth play of the Eagles' 27-17 preseason win over the New England Patriots on Monday night. X-rays on his ribs were negative, but he was held out as a precaution. "He's sore," Eagles coach Andy Reid said. "He was trying to talk me into going back in, so how sore is sore?" Vick was knocked down by linebacker Jermaine Cunningham after heaving a long pass in the first quarter. Eleven days earlier, in a 24-23 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, he had X-rays on his left thumb -- also negative -- after hitting it on the helmet of center Jason Kelce. Vick took part in only six plays in that game, too. "Mike's tough," Eagles running back LeSean McCoy said. "I kind of figured it would be all right, even though he took kind of a big blow." On Monday night, Nick Foles replaced Vick and threw two touchdown passes for the second straight game for the Eagles (No. 8 in the AP Pro32). "I didn't give any speech or anything" when he joined his teammates in the huddle, Foles said. "I was ready to play and they were, too. I could look in their eyes and see the confidence." Tom Brady sat out the game for the Patriots (No. 2). The New England quarterback figures to play Friday night in the team's third preseason game, at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Other healthy starters, including wide receivers Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd, tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, defensive lineman Vince Wilfork and linebacker Jerod Mayo, were held out of the game. The Eagles (2-0) also have a quick turnaround between games. Vick had been expected to play at least a half on Monday night and possibly rest on Friday night when Philadelphia faces the Cleveland Browns, also the Eagles' opponent in the regular-season opener. But his night was cut short, and he left after going 1 for 3 for 5 yards with one run for another 5 yards. After Cunningham drove his helmet into Vick's left side, the quarterback went down, got up slowly then knelt on one knee. He was checked by medical personnel before going to the sideline under his own power. "That is just football," Cunningham said, "going out there and getting the person with the ball." Foles, a rookie third-round draft pick from Arizona, came in and finished 18 for 28 for 217 yards and touchdown passes to Clay Harbor of 1 and 3 yards. "He did a great job," McCoy said. "In the huddle he demanded respect. He put everybody in the right places at the right times." McCoy scored on a 1-yard run, and Alex Henery kicked a 42-yard field goal to give the Eagles a 24-17 lead with 33 seconds left in the third quarter. He added a 21-yarder that capped the scoring with 2:00 remaining. For the Patriots (1-1), third-stringer Ryan Mallett completed 10 of 20 passes for 105 yards, including a 7-yard scoring pass to Alex Silvestro. Brian Hoyer was just 5 for 17 for 55 yards. "Ryan's a very confident player, both him and Brian," wide receiver Deion Branch said, "but it's hard for them because they have to play behind Tom Brady." Stephen Gostkowski kicked field goals of 51, 35 and 55 yards for the Patriots, who have scored only two preseason touchdowns. Vick's departure didn't change much for the Patriots despite his scrambling ability, defensive end Chandler Jones said. "It's the same offensive scheme they're running," he said. Vick wasn't the only first-stringer knocked out of the game. Philadelphia cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and New England safety Patrick Chung went out in the first half with shoulder injuries. Mike Kafka, Vick's backup last year, missed the game with a hand injury. The Patriots led 11-0 after Silvestro's touchdown 1:16 into the second quarter and a two-point conversion run by Shane Vereen. Then two lost fumbles within a span of six plays led to two Eagles touchdowns. Rookie Brandon Bolden muffed a punt, and McCoy scored three plays later. On the Patriots' second play after that, Hoyer fumbled when he was sacked by Phillip Hunt, and Darryl Tapp recovered at the New England 12. Foles hit DeSean Jackson for an 11-yard completion on the next play before connecting with Harbor. The Eagles took the lead for good, 21-14, with 3:58 gone in the third quarter on Harbor's second touchdown. ------ Notes: A moment of silence was held before the game for Garrett Reid. The son of Philadelphia coach Andy Reid was found dead Aug. 5 in his dorm room at Lehigh University where he was helping the team's strength and conditioning coach during training camp. ... Four Olympic medalists with New England connections were introduced before the game -- gymnast Aly Raisman of Needham, Mass., swimmer Elizabeth Beisel of Saunderstown, R.I., judo player Kayla Harrison of Marblehead, Mass., and basketball player Maya Moore, who played at the University of Connecticut. ... Andy Reid and defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins had a brief confrontation on the sideline in the first half. "He comes at you. He wants to get the best out of you," Jenkins said. "Obviously, that's not the way I should have handled it, but you just get emotional."

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Orioles look to rebound after losing 8 of last 11

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USA Today Sports

Orioles look to rebound after losing 8 of last 11

BALTIMORE  -- Dylan Bundy will try to rebound on Tuesday after his first non-quality start of the season. It will not be an easy task for the Baltimore Orioles right-hander.

Bundy (5-2, 2.97 ERA) will face Minnesota Twins ace Ervin Santana (6-2, 2.07) in the middle game of a three-game series at Camden Yards. Bundy has lasted at least six innings of each of his nine starts, but he did not give up more than three runs until his last outing.

The Detroit Tigers touched him up for six runs in six innings on Thursday in a 6-5 victory over the Orioles. Still, he made it through the sixth, which gave a tired Baltimore bullpen a break.

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Bundy has pitched just once against Minnesota, throwing a scoreless inning last year. The Orioles will need his help after the Twins scored 12 consecutive runs and rallied from an early five-run deficit to post a 14-7 victory in the series opener Monday.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter wants his team to shake off the loss.

"If you're tough mentally. I don't think guys dwell on it," Showalter said. "But as long as they feel like there's a silver lining there, something that's coming that's going to get better, (that's good)."

Santana also is trying to rebound from a defeat. He gave up five runs on six hits in seven innings on Thursday, taking the loss against the Colorado Rockies.

Still, that was the fifth time in nine starts that Santana went at least seven innings. The 34-year old right-hander certainly has earned the respect of manager Paul Molitor.

"He's a poised pitcher who's not intimidated," Molitor said. "Since he's been here, he's pitched good baseball for Minnesota. In a very bleak season (last year), he was one of our lone bright spots. He's a guy who attacks with his fastball."

Santana, who is 4-5 with a 4.87 career ERA against the Orioles, ranks first in the majors in lowest opponents' batting average this year (.144).

The Orioles still are battling a number of injury issues. Manager Buck Showalter said before the game Monday that Ryan Flaherty, on the disabled list due to a strained shoulder, was getting a plasma-rich platelet injection before going out to do rehab work in Florida.

Manny Machado played on Monday after X-rays on his left hand were fine, and he went 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI double. He was hit in the hand by a pitch on Sunday, and Showalter said the hand still was not perfect a day later.

The Orioles also recalled right-hander Tyler Wilson for some bullpen help on Monday after optioning right-hander Miguel Castro back to Double-A Bowie following the Sunday game. Wilson allowed six runs (four earned) on five hits in 1 1/3 innings Monday and took the loss.

Baltimore also reinstated right-hander Gabriel Ynoa (right hamstring strain) from the disabled list Monday and immediately optioned him back to Triple-A Norfolk.

The Twins, meanwhile, recalled right-hander Kyle Gibson (1-4) to start the series opener, and he allowed six runs in five innings but still got the win. He snapped a nine-start winless streak.

Thanks to a four-run fifth inning and six-run sixth, Minnesota improved its road record to 12-5.

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What's next for the Caps? There's no real consensus among players or coaches

What's next for the Caps? There's no real consensus among players or coaches

After another early playoff exit, the Capitals find themselves at a bit of a crossroads. With multiple expiring contracts and an aging core that has yet to carry this team past the second round, what direction is this team headed? Do the Caps need to make drastic changes to fix what ails them or makes just a few tweaks to finally get them over the hump?

It’s not an easy question to answer and there was no real consensus from the players at team’s breakdown day.

“I don't know if minor cosmetic changes are going to change anything really,” Matt Niskanen said.” It's pretty clear that this group didn't get it done so what changes and how many or what level of changes, I don't know what the answer is. Talent wise and our potential was clearly there. That's all fluff now. We need results.”

“I think any time you underachieve at what you're trying to do, you know there's going to be changes,” Brooks Orpik said. “That's just part of the business that we're in.”

“Obviously it's not working,” Nicklas Backstrom said. “I'm sure the organization will figure that out and try again.”

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Given this team’s history, especially in the Ovechkin era, it seems hard to argue that something significant needs to change because the formula there does not seem to be working. But not everyone agrees.

“I still think there's a window next year,” Lars Eller said. “I think there will be enough of the core intact that you could still make a play. First thing is you have to get into the playoffs, once you're in the playoffs you have a chance to win.”

“We’re going to be good again,” Tom Wilson said. “There's a lot of great pieces that are here that are core guys that have long contracts still that instill the right things in the group.”

“I think we're in the right position for sure and I think we will be stronger next year for sure,” Evgeny Kuznetsov said.

Then there are the guys who just don’t know, the guys who think the team will try to win but that the team’s chance of winning the Cup may now be in the rearview mirror.

“The nice thing is that we all know the organization does what it takes to put a good product on the ice and try to win," Karl Alzner said. "Whether there's a lot of changes and new faces next year, it's still going to be a team that is trying to win and that's a nice thing. … But yeah, this is a pretty good window that we had here and unfortunately, it's not there anymore.”

For his part, you can put head coach Barry Trotz down as someone who wants to see the team make only minor changes and try again next season.

“I know people talk about the window closing, the window doesn't close, it just changes a little bit because the window of all those pieces that have been here for six, seven years or whatever, they're going to change doesn't mean that you can't add pieces that may even be better. You see that all the time.”

Sure, you could file this down as a “What is he supposed to say?” comment. Major changes can often mean a coaching change so it’s not surprising to see him advocate against rebuilding. But Trotz was also adamant that the team was close to reaching its championship goal and cautioned that now was not the time to turn over the roster.

“This league is so unpredictable and sometimes so random that it's hard to grasp sometimes even as an organization or fans or media, to grasp how close you are from winning and how close you are from losing. You talk about inches, it might be millimeters. That's how close it is. Changes in momentum, a big save here, a fortunate goal here or a timely goal changes a series or momentum swing.”

“We're disappointed that we didn't reach our goal,” Trotz added, “It doesn't mean that we're not going to keep striving for our goal.”

But even if general manager Brian MacLellan agrees, there are going to be several players who will not be returning to Washington next season. Even after advocating minor tweaks, Trotz also acknowledged, “Group's going to change. That's just the financial part of it.”

With 11 free agents on the active roster heading into the offseason, as well as 14 more among their prospects and minor league players, and not enough cap space to pay them all, MacLellan is going to have to make some tough decisions regarding who to bring back and who to let go. Whether he agrees with those advocating for major changes or those who believe only minor tweaks are necessary will determine how he approaches the team’s free agents.

As much disagreement as there is within the team, there seems to be one thing everyone can agree on: The Caps are going to look like a very different team next season.

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